The Free Press, Mankato, MN


January 5, 2014

Construction in city expected to reach $128 million

$128 million in private construction expected


City staff are also projecting $20 million in cumulative construction on repairs and remodels of commercial, industrial and residential buildings.

Large retail and commercial projects also are being explored, but several of those might not occur until 2015, Hentges said. They weren't included in the $128 million total, but there is evidence — ranging from land purchases to soil borings to initial inquiries with city staff — that the projects are under serious consideration.

A Mankato retail store, for instance, is planning a 40,000-square-foot, $4 million expansion in late 2014 or early 2015.

"I can't say who they are because nothing formally has been submitted to us," Hentges said of the variety of potential developments in the next two or three years. "... I can tell you we're receiving inquiries and site-development explorations for a couple of very large commercial developments."

The largest of the possible retail developments would total $7 million.

In virtually all cases, the projects are planned for land already within reach of streets and utilities. That means the new taxes generated by the development won't be gobbled up by new expenses related to extending infrastructure, Hentges said.

"This is all very good, sustainable development ...," he said. "It's roads we already plow. It's areas where sewer and water are serviced. It's areas where fire stations are in place."

The tax benefit of the projected development is expected to be $300,000 to the city alone by 2016. Blue Earth County and Mankato Area Public Schools should also experience something of a tax windfall. And the total could top $500,000 in additional tax receipts to the city if several of the more tentative projects are constructed this year or next.

By 2018, another $1 million in city tax collections could come from the Wal-Mart project and the end of a tax abatement district on the northeast side that for years has captured taxes paid by existing retailers to cover the cost of road construction in the area.

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